The World's Most Romantic Hotels: The Southern United States
Honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements, make-ups — there are plenty of reasons to be amorous. Find love in all the right places with this list of romantic destinations in the southern United States.
Where: Little Rock
What's to love: Old-world tasteful, plush, riverfront hotel. Recently renovated, it has an excellent restaurant and an even better bar.
Good to Know: The vibe is European yet Southern. And it's cheaper than it should be.
What's to love: If the height alone doesn't do it, the view from the bluff-top gazebo overlooking a sheer drop into the Tennessee River Valley will literally take your breath away. Vintage yearbooks and board games in the downstairs sitting room and jazz-packed local radio stations are more fun than in-room TVs could ever be.
Good to Know: It's a dry county. Pack accordingly.
Where: Cumberland Island, Georgia
What's to Love: First and foremost, the remote, unspoiled location off the coast of Georgia. Site of the ultimate romantic wedding between John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette, the old-world, colonial inn is surrounded by nature preserves as far as the eye can see. A stay here feels like being at someone's 19th-century house party, complete with mysterious, hanging wisteria at every turn.
Good to Know: This is not for the techno type. There are no enormous flat screen TVs, endless WiFi, or slick spa treatments. You come here to commune with nature and your partner. Period.
What's to Love: A sustainable farming community and inn nestled 20 miles from Atlanta airport. Charming setting, amazing food, total bliss.
Good to Know: Don't miss the stone labyrinth hidden just beyond the cow pasture.
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Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Where: Miami Beach
What's to Love: It's a magical place that takes soulfulness, culture, myth, and luxury and marries them into a romantic fantasy. You can visit with your honey and not leave the dreamy interiors for a week — between Francis Mallmann feasts, the Turkish bath-style spa, and floor-by-floor butler service that brings you champagne at the ring of a bell.
Little Palm Island
Where: Little Torch Key
What's to Love: Private island getaway along the Florida Keys that feels like Gilligan's Island. No riff-raff, and the most gorgeous sunsets.
Good to Know: Hammocks for two in the sea make for super romantic late afternoons.
The Brazilian Court Hotel
Where: Palm Beach
What's to Love: Not your grandparents' Florida. Elegant hotel tucked away steps from Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. Intimate environment, beautiful pool, and richly luxurious.
Good to Know: Cafe Boulud is on-site; the private beach club a five-minute drive away.
The Standard Spa
What's to Love: Go here to feel like grown-ups for the first time. Go back to get away from kids, eat tofu-avocado salads by the pool, dunk in the waterfall, and simmer in the hamam. No Miami hotel makes you feel classier, and it's a great place to make new friends from all over the world.
Good to Know: It's on the bay, so though you're in South Beach, the scene feels miles away.
The Villa by Barton G.
What's to Love: Opulent and very private ten-suite villa and restaurant located in the heart of South Beach with stunning Italianite features like the Thousand Mosaic Pool.
Good to know: Yes, this used to be Casa Casuarina, the infamous former home of Gianni Versace.
What's To Love: Charming boutique hotel with traditional Southern charm. The sophisticated Penisula Grill is attached. Ask for a little courtyard table and order champagne and the Argentinean steak tartare.
Good To Know: There are reports of a few rooms being haunted; don't mind the ghosts.
The Sanctuary Hotel
Where: Kiawah Island
What's to Love: A big, beautiful hotel on the Atlantic Ocean with traditional Southern decor and noteworthy beds and thread count. Watch the shrimpers from your balcony and have sunset drinks at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed Ocean Course.
Good to Know: Kiawah is a protected nature conservatory, which makes biking on green beach cruisers through winding Low Country paths extra scenic.
What's to Love: While it's tempting to park it in the charming rooms with elegant furnishings, complimentary bikes make touring the nearby waterfront park and famed McCrady's restaurant easy. Wine and bites every evening from 4-5 p.m.; freshly baked cookies and cold milk at 9 p.m.
Good to Know: Ask for room 350, located across the street from the main lobby on a floor of its own. It has a four-poster canopy king bed, a fireplace, and seriously baby-making possibilities.
What's to Love: Beautiful rooms. Great spa. Breathtaking Smoky Mountain scenery. Fantastic food. The only farm in the United States that has Italian truffle dogs sniffing out the truffles growing under oak trees.
Good to Know: Avoid going in July, which is family month. The South's best artisanal bacon purveyor, Alan Benton, is just down the road.
What's to Love: Gorgeous, genteel charm right in downtown Memphis. The downstairs bar has impossibly high ceilings; the rooftop bar has great Mississippi River views.
Good to Know: Twice a day the legendary Peabody Ducks march from their rooftop perch to the lobby. No, it doesn't get any cuter.
Hotel St. Cecilia
What's to Love: It's a mesquite-and-mezcal-scented, sun-dappled, rock-n-roll Narnia. The hotel is only a five-minute walk from the coffee bars, taco stands, and honky tonks of South Congress, but feels miles and decades removed, like you'd expect to see a Court and Spark-era Joni Mitchell walk in and take a seat by the fireplace. And while other hipster hotels stick turntables and vinyl in guest rooms, only the Saint has a record collection you'll want to steal.
Where: Talpa, Texas
What's to Love: The award-winning farmhouse restaurant now has a hotel: five carefully curated rooms with Bigelow toiletries, great bedding, and Nespresso coffee. The house cocktail served upon arrival sets the mood right.
Good to Know: Take that house cocktail and wander over to the archery sets. More than a bit of fun can be had when you mix bows, arrows, and gin. Don't forget to ask about s'mores or a fireside snack with a view of the ranch pasture at sunset.
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What's to Love: Super private, fireplaces in every room, excellent homey breakfasts, and lovely owners.
Good to know: Book ahead if you're going for the Gold Cup horse races.
The Clifton Inn
What's to Love: The Shaker suites are like your own little lakeside cottage. The food is out of this world.
Good to Know: This part of Virginia thinks it's wine country, but the awesome cocktails are the thing to drink.
The Inn at Little Washington
What's to Love: Consistently ranked as one of the country's best restaurants with an eighteen-room inn. Engagements and special occasions are de rigeur around here.
Good to Know: The Gamekeeper's Cottage has a bedroom loft that's like an elegant treehouse.
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Contributors: Tiffany Davis, Eric Demby, Kate Donnelly, Nicole Dunn, Andrew Grosso, Rob Newton, Sarah Rosenberg, Dana Hazels Seith, Brette Warshaw, and Sherri Warshaw.